It was off to Sydney and the Rosehill Racetrack to live it large.
A day at the races is a great way to get a bit of luxury into your life. Putting on your fancy threads, full-make up, heels and a hat can make you feel like you’re living the A-list life. If you win, even better. Add on a slap-up meal at the end of the day.
Heading off to Derby Day I was worried that the day would be consumed by standing in line: for the toilet, for a drink, or to place a bet. This was not the case. Rosehill must be one of the best run and organised racecourses in the world. Here’s why.
Whether you drive, bus, train or walk it’s easy to get it. There’s no ugly, sweaty bottleneck as you and thousands of other punters converge at the entrance. The walkways are wide, there’s shade, and there’s waiting points. The train station is literally at the racecourse.
Outside the main pavilion a funky eatery lined with a range of food vans awaits to feed you from the moment you arrive. The prices are slightly on the high side, but I guess that’s to be expected when you’re a captive audience. The range and quality are good, not just greasy slop. The only improvement could be more seating but sharing tables forces mingling which adds to the social atmosphere of a well lubricated day at the races.
At many racecourses there seems to be a conspiracy to stop you from getting a drink, at least easily. Not so at Rosehill. It can get quite crowded on the ground floor of the main pavilion but head up the escalator and you’ll find quieter bars with no lines, ample seating, and great views over the course and across to the city. A glass of champagne was $9, a bottle $45, so no benefit to buying in bulk.
This too, as any woman will attest, is a misogynistic conspiracy manifested at large events around the world. Rosehill must have some women on the board, because there were ample toilets, with ample toilet paper. Thank you.
Again, so easy. There are bookies everywhere. Obviously, there’s the betting ring if you want to compare odds with ease, but on each floor, inside and out you’ll find someone willing to take your next bet.
The horses and races themselves are brilliantly orchestrated with big screens, stadium seating, and TV vision just about everywhere inside. Heading to the stables is easy too, the walk is short and easy, even in heels and the U shape arrangement means you can see all the animals as they are tended.
What you spend on a day at the races can obviously vary greatly, but it’s not necessary to spend hundreds to have an A-List experience. On Derby Day (one of the biggest on the calendar) entry was very reasonable at $20 per person, and you can take a picnic if you want to keep costs down.